Property Rights and Land Use
Property Rights Philosophy
I believe firmly in property rights and that a landowner has the right to build or develop on their land under the zoning in which they purchased the land. If they purchase at agriculture, they have the right to agricultural building. If they purchase at residential, they have the right to residential. However, in the cases of seeking additional rights, such as rezoning, it is not automatically a land owners right to be able to develop. The landowner is then entitled to make a case to the land use authority (the City Council) and the council is to use the general plan, adjacent uses, and code to determine if the proposed use is compatible and appropriate. If the landowner does not make a sufficient and compelling case and does not have plans to mitigate detrimental effects, they are not entitled to a rezone. That is where council is in a strong position to make a stand to ensure proposed development is compatible and appropriate.
Checks and Balances
I also believe in checks and balances; both on government and land developers. Land use law in the State of Utah provides a strong framework for checks on local government, but one element I have found to be lacking is the checks on the developer. Councilmembers MUST act as checks on developers.
Two-Sides to Land Use Decisions
In nearly every land use instance, there are two or more land owners involved. In my opinion, far too many property-rights advocates focus too heavily on the rights of the individual(s) seeking to develop, and not enough of the individuals who already own land adjacent to the developer. No, it is not appropriate to make decisions simply to protect a view, or because someone was promised that nothing would be built, but when a developer seeks to develop adjacent to existing landowners, if there are negative effects, those effects must be eliminated or mitigated. In actuality, there are specific cases when a proposed residential use next to an agricultural/rural use that would eliminate the ability of the existing resident to conduct certain farming or other rural activities. In those instances, I side with the existing land owners.
Lot Size Transitioning
In addition, I have worked with staff and other elected officials to attempt to mitigate such effects though a lot size transitioning code that ensures only like uses, specifically residential uses, are able to be adjacent. Under this code, multi-family cannot go next to 1/2 acre, when before my coming into office, that was allowed.
Many Ways to Live, One Eagle Mountain
When Eagle Mountain values and allows for multiple ways of living under multiple conditions, we gain variety and stability. I love that I can travel a short distance to find horses, larger lots, and natural open space. I also love that I personally live in a more suburban type of neighborhood. Eagle Mountain has room for both, and to that point, we should allow for both.
I value the variety of lifestyles residents of Eagle Mountain can choose. Protecting the rural and agriculture is as important to me as is working to have space for businesses and job-creators. We have 52 square miles of canvas on which to paint, and if we are careful and thoughtful, we truly can keep balance.